News 25.03.2024

Protest in the supermarket: How to join in!

  • Pesticides

A large amount of the pesticides used are sprayed on cereal grain. This leads not only to residues in our breads or breakfast cereals but also threatens the survival of millions of bees, butterflies, and beetles.  

Supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl have the power to stop this harmful practice. And we have a plan to make sure they are listening. If the request is coming directly from their customers, reported back from their store managers, we have more possibilities to push for change. Follow the steps and make sure our call for pesticide-free products will be heard. 

Step 1: Print and sign the letter 

  • Print out the letter. This letter contains all important information about our demands and arguments against the excessive use of pesticides in cereal production. 
  • Sign the letter. Your signature shows that you support our cause and are committed to a pesticide-free agriculture.  

Step 2: Deliver the letter to a supermarket 

  • Choose a supermarket close to you. We have investigated and selected the following supermarkets for our action: Migros, Tegut, Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Carrefour, Intermaché, Edeka, Rewe, Lidl - Germany, Aldi, Plus Coop, Super U, Dekamarkt, Lidl - France, Groupe Casino, E.Leclerc, Lidl Netherlands, Dirk, Vomar Vordeelmarkt, Spar and Aldi. 
  • Decide how you want to deliver the letter. Choose the method that is most comfortable for you. You can: 
    • Hand the letter directly to the store management or employees on site.  

    • Post the letter on the supermarket's bulletin board. 

Step 3: Let us know how it went 

  • After having done the action, email and inform us about the onsite employees' responses 
  • Take a photo of your action and post it on social with #ExitPesticides, tagging @foodwatch and the retailers 

Key Points for your Argumentation 

In case you should have a conversation with the store manager or supermarkets workers, here are some talking points you can use. Sometimes they have a voice in the supermarket’s policy, but don’t expect they are immediately committing to your request. Therefore, being polite and constructive is the best strategy to ensure they are triggering an internal discussion.  

  • Our Ask: we are asking supermarkets to stop selling breads, cereals and flours produced with pesticides  
  • Why it is so urgent: Massive amounts of pesticides are used on cereal fields. This endangers not only insects and plants but also means we consume bread with many pesticide residues. 
  • What can supermarkets do: Supermarkets often advertise themselves as environmentally friendly but ignore the massive use of pesticides in cereal production. Indeed, about 45 percent of pesticide use in Germany is attributed to wheat and barley. If supermarkets sold only pesticide-free cereal products, this could significantly reduce pesticide use in Germany. We demand that REWE, Aldi, and other supermarkets use their market power and switch to pesticide-free bread, flour, and muesli! 

Your support is crucial to a pesticides-free Europe. Together, we can have a significant impact on supermarket practices and ultimately on the health of our environment and our food. Thank you for your help!  

Questions and answers about the protest action

If you don't have a printer, you can have the document printed out at your nearest copy shop or ask friends and acquaintances.

If the manager is unavailable, you can ask for a different staff member or post the letter on the bulletin board. 

The letter should ideally be addressed to the store manager or the department responsible for product procurement and sustainability initiatives. 

You can follow up with the store after a few days to inquire about the letter and express your interest in their response. Personal interaction often helps in emphasizing the seriousness of your concern. 

Yes, you can hand in the letter anonymously, but including your contact information might make your concern seem more credible and open a channel for further dialogue. 

Immediate action is unlikely, but you might receive an acknowledgment of receipt. Real change often requires persistent effort and time. 

While you can share the letter with others, it's important to respect the store's policy on solicitation and the privacy of other customers. It might be more effective to encourage others to join the campaign outside the store premises. 

Weekdays during normal business hours are usually best, as the management staff is more likely to be available. 

If asked to leave, comply politely and consider mailing the letter instead or reaching out to the supermarket's corporate office. 

Yes, you can hand in letters at multiple branches. This could increase the impact of your effort. 

If the response is negative or there is no response, don't be discouraged. You can seek support from other community members, use social media to raise awareness. We have a series of actions in our pipeline to convince supermarkets to do the right thing.  

If you have any further questions about our pesticide campaign, you can find more information here